At Large

At Large

Pot Brownies and Putin’s Trolls

By 10.28.14

Not once in my life have I ever said to anyone, “You wanna smoke a bowl?”

Still, I get ads via emails on my computer about water bongs, vaporizers, smoking pipes and scales.

With edibles, I get emails about pot brownies and marijuana-infused peach soda. It sounds like a picnic you’d have to toss in the bushes if the cops showed up.

There are also regular incoming movie trailers on my computer for Reefer Madness, an “unabashed propaganda film with alarmist views on the dangers of marijuana addiction,” plus trailers for Assassin of Youth and The Narcotics Story.

Similarly, not once in my life have I ever gone to a bingo hall looking for a date. Still, I get recurring email and pop-up ads about “New Singles, Zoosk members, women 65 to 72.”

I’ve never replied to any of the aforementioned ads or clicked for more information.

With the Zoosk ad, a response did pop into my head that I thought might provide a chuckle on the other end: “I’m a foot fetish, seeking same, or a job in a shoe store.”

At Large

Terror on the Hills

By 10.24.14

Terror struck in two disparate venues Wednesday, places — in the Talmudic phrase — “as far apart as east from west.” Indeed Jerusalem, Israel, is the hub of the Middle East and no place is as bleached in its Western-ness as Ottawa, Canada. Yet the hills of each played grim host to the murderous scourge of our time, the “Black Death” of Islamic terror. Each terrorist succeeded in bartering his pathetic existence for one innocent life. The world is better off without the two miscreants but sadly impoverished by losing two pure souls.

In Jerusalem, the usual crowd had been crammed together at Ammunition Hill, a terminus for the light rail system and a link to several bus lines. The hillock takes its name from its history as a key storage area for British ordnance prior to 1948. It became a pivot in the ground war between newly declared Israel and neighboring Jordan in 1948, winding up in Jordanian hands.

At Large

Goodbye to Australia’s Worst P.M.

By 10.21.14

Australia’s worst-ever Prime Minister, Edward Gough Whitlam, died on Monday, aged 98.

Whitlam and the Australian Labor Party came to power at the end of 1972, inheriting from the previous Liberal (i.e. conservative) Government a stable, prosperous country which they proceeded to run into the ground. Australia was a long time recovering from their legacy of folly and criminality.

Whitlam’s very first action as Prime Minister was to restore the passport of Wilfrid Burchett, the Australian traitor and KGB operative who had helped interrogate allied prisoners of war in North Korea and helped fabricate fake germ-warfare confessions.

To gain credence in the Third World, Whitlam granted Papua New Guinea independence long before it had a trained and educated class capable of running it. Despite mineral wealth, it is now a typical corrupt broken-backed third world state, kept barely afloat by Australian aid.

At Large

England and Shame: The Hamas Vote

By 10.17.14

I am half-English, half-Australian. My forebears came over with William the Conqueror from Maine and Anjou in 1066 and sank deep roots in Shropshire, the most English of English counties. My dear wife is English, and it was in England that I met her, in the lovely Cotswolds. The images of “Englishness” are deep in my whole mental makeup. I have been deeply aware of England’s contribution to what is humane and decent in civilization. When Australia had a referendum as to whether it ought to become a republic, independent of the British Crown, I did my best to work for the Royalist cause (we won).

At Large

Captain Harry Howden, Heir to Hornblower

By 10.9.14

I recently came across a photograph of myself, a good many years younger, sitting behind the wheel of a yellow postwar Austin convertible, the mudguard punctured with a line of bullet holes.

The car had been lent to me by Captain Harry Howden, former captain of HMAS Hobart, only survivor of Australia’s three modern cruisers in World War II.

Hobart had been the last ship out of Singapore as the Japanese stormed in. Howden, noticing the car abandoned on the docks, cocked a snoot at the enemy by stopping while it, and the British crest from over the dockyard gates, were hoisted onboard. Hobart’s quarter-deck 6-inch gun-turret cleared it with an inch to spare. Hobart and the Japanese infantry swarming in were dueling with machine-guns as the car was loaded and Hobart steamed out of the shattered harbor, ensigns flying.

Those who knew Harry Howden during his retirement might have been surprised to learn of this quietly spoken, self-effacing man’s heroic and romantic past.

At Large

Thunder on the British Right

By 10.3.14

The British National Party (BNP) has expelled its dominating personality and former Euro MP, Nick Griffin. Griffin lost his seat when he was driven into bankruptcy following a succession of lawsuits.

At the same time, Tories fed up with Prime Minister David Cameron’s wishy-washiness, including Members of Parliament and some major financial donors, are joining the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

Adam Walker, the current BNP chairman, has alleged that Griffin had attempted to spread lies about the party and had harassed current members. Griffin, who had led the BNP for fifteen years, replied “Breaking news! I’ve just been ‘expelled’ without trial from the #BNP! That’ll teach me to tell a member of staff he’s a ‘useless, lazy t***.’”

If the BNP is falling apart, UKIP may pick up many of its more rational members. Despite its media-created stereotype, the BNP is not composed entirely of knuckle-dragging neo-fascists.

Some BNP members, like the typical UKIP supporters, are simply puzzled and angry patriots, who are outraged by what Britain has become, and who, not without cause, fear the loss of its national identity.

At Large

Disunion Jacked

By 9.19.14

When Scotland “voted” on union with her southern neighbor 307 years ago, English troops flowed to the border and English pounds flowed through the Scottish parliament. English force sought, unlike Hadrian, to welcome and not repel. The parliamentarians quietly voted “yes”; their constituents loudly shouted “no.”

Robert Burns eloquently agreed with the screaming sentiment of the people rather than the pols:

What force or guile could not subdue/Thro' many warlike ages/Is wrought now by a coward few/For hireling traitor's wages.

More than three centuries later, Scotsmen — rather than representatives who don’t represent — voted whether to part from the Englishmen they had so controversially joined. Enjoying about as full a democratic expression as modern times have known, and minus the coercion, Scots apparently decided that differences did not dictate divorce, after all.  

In what way, Scotsmen certainly contemplated, would untethering the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George change matters?

At Large

A Forgotten Hero of World War II

By 9.12.14

American and Australian veterans of World War II have rightly honored the heroic doctors of World War II — the Australian surgeon “Weary” Dunlop probably pre-eminent among them — who worked miracles in Japanese prison camps.

But a West Australian doctor with achievements at least as heroic has been largely forgotten except by the few surviving members of the 2nd/2nd Independent Company. He does not even have an entry in The Australian Dictionary of Biography.

At Large

Rick Perry’s Indictment Should Scare All Americans

By 9.5.14

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
— Humpty Dumpty in Alice through the Looking Glass

The indictment of Governor Rick Perry should send a shudder down the spine of every American. The vindictive special prosecutor used Humpty Dumpty’s logic to say statutes say the opposite of their plain meaning in order to charge the governor with a crime for exercising his lawful veto. If a popular sitting governor can be indicted on such a flimsy basis, then every one of us is vulnerable.

The facts are straightforward: the police arrested Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County DA, after finding her in her car with a drained bottle of vodka. Her blood alcohol content was almost three times the legal limit. During her arrest and booking, she screamed, beat on the jail cell door, and had to be forcibly strapped into a restraint chair with a spit guard placed over her mouth to protect the deputies. She pleaded guilty.

At Large

Goodbye to All That Central Planning

By 8.26.14

What can you say about a sixty-four year old central planning apparatus that died? That it was vestigial? One may look to India on how to try to dismantle Big Government.

In a bold move, India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, recently fired the Planning Commission, a central planning body established in 1950 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Replacing it, he envisions a think-tank that would engage in free market philosophy and strengthen the role of India’s many states. He has created an on-line forum asking for suggestions on what the replacement should look like.

The Planning Commission, chaired by the prime minister, had consisted of various cabinet officials and experts, many of whom were economists. Its mission was principally to allocate resources to foster Indian development, formulate Five-Year Plans, and assess progress against those plans. The Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time reports that the current Five-Year Plan comprises over 1,000 pages.